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Catechesis with Francis

The words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, given at his weekly general audiences.

Elected during the Year of Faith, Pope Francis took over from where Pope Benedict XVI had stopped on the catecheses on faith. Francis then gave series of catechesis on the Seven Sacraments, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Church, the family, the Jubilee of Mercy, Christian hope, Holy Mass, the Sacraments of Baptism & Confirmation, and has now begun speaking about the Commandments.

For the gift of their music, many thanks to:
Ooberfuse - 'Credo' for the catecheses in the Year of Faith
Fr Rob Galea - 'To the Ends of the Earth' (℗ 2011 Robert Galea, with permission) for the catecheses on the Saints
Fr Stan Fortuna CFR - 'Lord have Mercy' for the catecheses in the Jubilee of Mercy
Fr Tansi CFR - 'Rest' for the catecheses on Hope

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Hope, the Strength of the Martyrs      

Papa Francisco: "This fidelity to the style of Jesus — which is a style of hope — all the way to death, was to be called a very beautiful name by the first Christians: “martyrdom”, which means “testimony”. There were so many other possibilities offered by the vocabulary: it could have been called heroism, abnegation, self-sacrifice. And instead the early Christians called it a name that is scented with discipleship. The martyrs do not live for themselves, they do not fight so as to assert their own ideas, and they accept to have to die solely through fidelity to the Gospel. Martyrdom is not even the supreme ideal of Christian life, because above it there is charity, that is, the love towards God and towards neighbour. The Apostle Paul says it so well in the hymn to charity: “If I give away all I have and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, it serves me nothing” (1 Cor 13, 3). The idea that suicide bombers can be called “martyrs” is repugnant to Christians: there is nothing in their end that can come close to the attitude of the children of God.

Sometimes, in reading the stories of so many martyrs of yesterday and today — who are more numerous than the martyrs of the first times — we are amazed in front of the strength with which they have faced the test. This strength is sign of the great hope which animated them: the certain hope that nothing and no one could separate them from the love of God given to us in Jesus Christ (cf Rom 8, 38-39).

May God always give us the strength to be his witnesses. May He give us the gift to live Christian hope above all in the hidden martyrdom of doing well and with love
our duties of each day. Thank you."

Click here for more catecheses on Christian hope.

The Gospel of Mercy      

Papa Francisco: "We can contemplate even more clearly the great mystery of this love by turning our gaze to Jesus crucified. As He prepares to die innocent for us sinners, He supplicates the Father: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23, 34). It is on the cross that Jesus presents to the mercy of the Father the sin of the world: the sin of all, my sins, your sins, everyone’s sins. And there, on the cross, He presents them to the Father. And with the sin of the world all our sins are erased. Nothing and no one remains excluded from this sacrificial prayer of Jesus. This means that we must not be afraid to recognise ourselves and confess ourselves sinners. How many times do we say: “But, this one is a sinner, he has done that and that...”, and we judge others. And you? Each of us should ask ourselves: “Yes, that one is a sinner. And me?” We are all sinners, but we are all forgiven: we all have the possibility of receiving this forgiveness which is the mercy of God. We must not be afraid, therefore, to recognise ourselves sinners, to confess ourselves sinners, as every sin has been borne by the Son on the Cross. And when we confess it, repenting, entrusting ourselves to Him, we are certain of being forgiven. The Sacrament of Reconciliation renders actual for each one of us the strength of forgiveness that flows from the Cross and renews in our life the grace of the mercy that Jesus has acquired for us! We must not be afraid of our miseries: each of us has our own. The power of the love of the Crucified One does not know obstacles and never runs out. And this mercy erases our miseries." (6.04.16)

Click here for more catecheses during the Jubilee of Mercy.

Saint Joseph, Educator      

Francis: "Today I would like to take up the theme of guardian from a particular perspective: the educational perspective. We look to Joseph as the model of educators, who watches over and accompanies Jesus on his pathway of growth “in wisdom, age and grace”, as the Gospel says. He was not the father of Jesus: the father of Jesus was God, but he was made the papa of Jesus, he was made a father to Jesus so as to make him grow. And how did he make him grow? In wisdom, age and grace. .. Dear brothers and sisters, Joseph’s mission is certainly unique and unrepeatable, because Jesus is absolutely unique. And yet, in his guardianship of Jesus, educating him to grow in age, wisdom and grace, he is the model for every educator, in particular for every father. St Joseph is the model of the educator and the papa, the father. Thus I entrust to his protection, all parents, priests — who are fathers — and those who have an educational task in the Church and in society." (19.03.2014)

The Communion of Saints     

Francis: ".. And we come to another aspect: the communion of saints goes beyond earthly life, goes beyond death and lasts for ever. This union among us goes beyond the here and now and continues in the next life; it is a spiritual union that is born of Baptism and is not broken by death, but, thanks to the Risen Christ, is destined to find its fullness in eternal life. There is a deep and indissoluble bond between all those who are still pilgrims in this world — between us — and those who have crossed the threshold of death to enter into eternity. All the baptised here on earth, the souls in Purgatory and all the blessed who are already in Paradise form one big Family. This communion between earth and heaven is realised especially in the prayer of intercession. Dear friends, we have this beauty! This is a reality of ours, of everyone's, that makes us brothers, that accompanies us on the pathway of life and is found by us once again in heaven. Let us go forward on this pathway with trust, with joy. A Christian must be joyful, with the joy of having so many baptised brothers and sisters who walk with him; supported by the help of brothers and sisters who are on the same road towards heaven; and also with the help of brothers and sisters who are in heaven and pray to Jesus for us. Let us go forward on this road with joy!" (30.11.13)

Mary, Image and Model of the Church      

Francis: ".. Mary model of union with Christ. The life of the Holy Virgin was the life of a woman of her people: Mary prayed, Mary worked, went to the synagogue... But every action was always accomplished in perfect union with Jesus. This union reaches its culmination on Calvary: here Mary is united to the Son in the martyrdom of the heart and in the offering of the life to the Father for the salvation of humanity. Our Lady made her own the pain of the Son and accepted with Him the will of the Father, in this obedience that bears fruit, that gives true victory over evil and over death. This reality which Mary teaches us is very beautiful: to be always united to Jesus. We can ask ourselves: do we remember Jesus only when something goes wrong and we are in need, or is ours a constant relationship, a deep friendship, even when it means following him on the way of the Cross? Let us ask the Lord to grant us his grace, his strength, so that in our lives and in the life of every ecclesial community may be reflected the model of Mary, Mother of the Church. So be it!" (23.11.13)